The main road©Copyright: Susan Foster
The infamous Eldorado gold rush that began in 1866 fuelled a wave of prospecting that spread quickly to the surrounding areas. At one point there were well over 20 mines in operation. Malone, a small milling village located seven kilometres northwest of Eldorado, glittered briefly following the discovery of similar but smaller deposits of gold.
Malone didn't start out as a gold rush community. It got its start around 1855 as a small mill town named Powell's Mills. The village's name was changed to Malone in 1863, after D.N. Powell opened the post office.
Things remained quiet in the little village until 1866 when a local resident, Marcus (Mark) Powell, a court clerk and part-time prospector, stumbled across gold while prospecting on the John Richardson farm in Eldorado. Powell's discovery led to a fierce wave of gold fever in nearby Eldorado that quickly spilled over into Malone. The gold rush lasted until of the end of 1868 when the Richardson Mine went bankrupt.
In 1869, Malone's population stood at around 60. The village had a grist mill, owned by Henry Bowerman and a store owned by George Richardson, who later took over as postmaster. It also included a Methodist church, a school and a tavern, run by George McGregor. Although the Richardson Mine was officially history, the dreams hadn't died along with it, at least not in Malone where exploration was still going on. Records show that at least six miners called Malone their home and Severy and Caldwell were operating a quartz crushing mill. In fact things were just beginning to heat up.
By 1871 at least two gold strikes had been recorded in Malone with average yields listed at 81 oz to the ton. Two quartz crushing mills were quickly opened and the population exploded to around 300. Not surprisingly, the gold deposits proved to be similar to those in Eldorado, small, isolated and sporadic. The mines failed as quickly as they started and the boom didn't last long.
By the mid 1880s things had settled down and Malone returned to its former status as a snoozy little mill town. D.M. and later Charles Thompson owned both grist and sawmills and Robert Arkles operated the hotel. George Richardson, who was serving as postmaster, took over the hotel around 1888. Richardson enjoyed an incredibly long run as postmaster. He served almost continuously from 1870 to 1903, with the exception of two brief years in 1876 - 77, when our old friend and former prospector, Mark Powell, took over. The village also included a butcher and a blacksmith. Malone's population had stabilized for the time being at between 75 and 100. However, Malone was about to get another wake-up call.
The coming of the 1890s brought with it another wave of gold fever following the arrival of the Cressent Gold Mining Company. Malone's population seesawed up and down between 50 and 150. By 1892 the company had established a gold crushing mill, which had grown to three mills by the end of the decade.
Malone continued to thrive throughout the early part of the 20th century. The Sovereign Mine was a very small but steady producer that lasted into the early teens. There were also two sawmills and two cheese factories, the North Star and the Champion Cheese and Butter Company. However Malone declined swiftly once the lumber supplies were depleted and the sawmills shut down. The post office survived until 1968. Today the old sign from the general store signals your arrival in Malone. The old hotel, now privately owned, still stands along with a number of other early remnants and relics.